>> Friday, February 24, 2017

Lower House okays 10-year passport validity 
THE LOWER HOUSE Monday approved the proposed 10-year validity of Philippine passports in its 3rd and final reading.
The House Bill No. 4767 gained 216 votes with no contradictions; therefore, approving the bill amending some provisions of the Philippine Passport Act of 1996.
This aims to ease the burden of Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), seafarers and businessmen of renewing their passport every 5 years which is considered as, short period of validity.

Businesswoman loses P1 M million to robbers
CABANATUAN CITY– A businesswoman lost P1 million when three men broke into her drug store here and carted away cash and gadgets last week.
Senior Superintendent Antonio Yarra, Nueva Ecija police director, identified the victim as Gloria Mercado, 50, a resident of Barangay San Roque in Cabiao town.
Initial investigation showed the suspects, who were wearing masks, took P800,000 in cash and gadgets amounting to P200,000.      
Footage of a closed-circuit television camera show that the suspects destroyed the concrete wall at the back of the store. – Manny Galvez

Sagada church rejects road widening
SAGADA Mountain Province -- The Church of St Mary the Virgin  here rejected the  road  widening of  the main road at  Sitio Makamkamlis. The lot for the proposed road widening project is owned by the Episcopal Church in the Philippines and administered by the CSMV.
In a congregational assembly Feb. 12, CSMV senior warden  Mary Umaming said the vestry  has  rejected the road widening of a P13 million infrastructure project that is  supposedly going to widen the already  widened 9-meter road here at  Makamkamlis.
Said road widening, a project of the Department of Public Works and Highways is programmed to widen the other side of the road leading to the Boys Dormitory.
Meantime, the already finished P12 million road widening project here at Makamkamlis is being used as a parking space for vehicles especially when visitor arrivals  get to a peak in this tourist town. It is also used as a site for vendors to display their stuff during Saturdays and special occasions as the recent Etag Festival.
Umaming and other members of the congregation complained of litter on the road which needs daily clean up.
Mayor James  Pooten  urged collection of parking fees to be used for road maintenance on  waste management.  -- Gina Dizon

5 nabbed in Tabuk for illegal gambling 
TABUK CITY, Kalinga -- Five persons were arrested here Thursday  at P-4 Silao St., Bulanao for illegal gambling.
Police named the suspects as  Mely Ganotice Lastimosa, 53 and Carmelita Julakit Valdez, 39;  Peter Sulyaban Ticangan, 58; Irene TaronTallion, 38 and Anabel Balboa Lacambra, 56.
Confiscated from the suspects were two sets mahjong tiles, one folding table and P1,300 cash.
Charges for illegal gambling were set to be filed against them.

DSWD exec cites rules in adoption
BAGUIO CITY – The Dept. of Social Welfare and Development – Cordillera Administrative Region confirmed 10 adoptions of minors in the region referred to DWSD-CAR and 11 international adoptions, but 15 children are still under their institution and are homeless. Social Welfare officer III, Jireh Altiyen, said in a media forum they are monitoring these adopted children by visiting their new homes with their adopter. She said that so far on their monitoring, there was no abuse reported among adopted children.
Altiyen said cited qualifications for people who want to adopt a child. For newborn babies, adopters who are below 43 are only qualified. She said people above 50 are already lacking in work capacity, thus, it makes them harder to take care of newborn babies. Altiyen said they are not against same sex couples but added only one of them can stand as legal parent of the adoptee for same sex marriage is still not legal in our country.
“Most of the adopters are childless, others want to help,” Altiyen said. -- LJ Reyes

Baguio, Benguet chill at 8º Celsius
BAGUIO CITY – Temperature got chilly in this summer capital last week.
Benguet and Baguio City’s dropped to 8 degrees Celsius at 6 a.m. on Valentine’s Day, the lowest temperature this year.
Residents said even thick clothing could not keep out the biting cold caused by the enhanced northeast monsoon
The cold weather in the country will continue to prevail this month, according to the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration.
PAGASA senior weather forecaster Rene Paciente said the northeast monsoon, or cold air from China and Siberia, normally peaks in January and February.
The country has been experiencing lower temperatures since last week due to the monsoon surge.
Paciente said the strong northeast monsoon prevailed in the country until Wednesday. The cold weather Thursday gave way to the easterlies, which brought warm air temperatures.
Paciente said the temperatures will start to go up by March.

Youngest arnisador to represent CAR in Palarong Pambansa
BAGUIO CITY -- An 8-year-old boy, together with his teammates will represent the Cordillera Administrative Region in this year’s Palarong Pambansa.
This, after garnering three gold medals for Team Anyo in Arnis during the Cordillera Administrative Region Athletic Association Meet here recently.
Arnis is composed of “Anyo” (creative forms) and full contact. Each municipality or province has a representative for Anyo events in elementary and high school. For the past years, the CAR Elementary Arnis team was represented by boys and girls aged 10-12 during Palarong Pambansa. But this year was odd for many Arnisadors that participated in CARAA.                
CJ Lopez, a grade three student of the University of Baguio-Laboratory Elementary School (UB-LES), got the attention of the audience and the judges as he and his synchromates performed. Though he was the youngest among all the elementary Arnisadors, he  managed to handle the wooden sword they use in the Anyo which weighs the same as the wooden sword that his two synchromates used. All their sweat in trainings paid off after winning all gold medals in CARAA Meet. Team Anyo and be heading to the Province of Antique soon where the national competition will be held. -- Leonila Juda Reyes

Abra electric cooperative hoping for gov’t assistance
BANGUED, Abra — The management and clients of Abra Electric Coop. (Abreco) are looking forward to assistance from the government to address the power cooperative’s financial and related problems.
The Department of Energy is still considering placing at least 10 electric cooperatives (ECs) facing various problems and issues under receivership status so financial and technical assistance can be extended.
“Such a gesture is one such huge opportunity to prove to that we can revive our cooperative,” Abreco general manager Loreto Seares Jr. said.
Abreco was recently identified by the DOE as among the 10 ailing ECs, together with Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative (Lasureco) in Mindanao which are encountering financial woes.
A receivership arrangement may be enforced by the government when an EC is validated or audited to be of decrepit state or financially crippled condition, the DOE said.
Government draws its step-in rights into these electric cooperatives under Republic Act 10531 or the revised Charter of the National Electrification Administration, which is under DOE.
ABRECO had been lamenting supposed lack of assistance from the NEA.
The law prescribes that NEA could take several options under its step-in power which is akin to a receivership process set by a governing entity – and these could take the form of a takeover of the ECs or private sector participation (PSP) option through competitive bidding after the terms of reference on case-to-case basis had been established. -- Freddie G. Lazaro

Mayor: Baguio not on red alert
BAGUIO CITY -- - Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said Baguio City is not under  attack by terrorists and that the city is not on red alert after two Volvo trucks of the Philex Mining Corp. were burned down in nearby Ampucao Itogon, Benguet on Feb.9. The incident caused panic and alarm that people started posting own speculations in social media that spread out like wildfire.
Domogan said the incident had been solved and the culprits were arrested and are now in jail. He added that time, 300 new policemen had just finished training were detailed in the city that added to the panic.
He added it is not true that there are members of the Abu Sayaf or New People’s Army who will come and bomb places in the city where there are a lot of people.  “There is really no such thing seen in intelligence reports,” he said.
Domogan said posts in social media regarding such matters were not true but the public should take precaution at all times.
The mayor urged the public to post in social media factual news. -- Karen Copa and Fely L. Guanzo

La Trinidad gov’t prepares for disasters
LA TRINIDAD, Benguet – The Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council here is getting ready for emergencies and typhoons.
According to Disaster management officer Yoshio P. Labi, they are now doping the rounds in barangays and schools to disseminate information on preparation and proper usage of emergency bags.
Emergency bags, also known as survival kit should contain flash lights with extra batteries, radio with ready batteries, whistle for every family member, pocket knife, candles and matches, garbage bag, clothes and boots, important documents and extra cash. Bags should also include medicines, food and hygiene items like soap, toothpaste and toothbrush.
In accordance with the program they give first aid and safety trainings. -- Fely L. Guanzo

Less sidewalk paddlers, pickpockets in Baguio
BAGUIO CITY – This city’s public order and safety division is now strictly implementing anti-peddling law and going after pickpockets.   
Romeo L. Lumi-ib, the head of the POSD’s anti-peddling enforcement section said Mayor Mauricio Domogan ordered them to monitor the central business area and public market to ensure cleanliness, orderliness and make sure illegal vendors on  sidewalks are out. He added frequent inspection by POSD personnel in crowded places helped to stop  pickpocket goons. -- Tan Dulag

Pampanga spends P268 M for infras
SAN FERNANDO, Pampanga, Philippines – The provincial government spent P268 million on infrastructure projects in 2016, according to the office of the provincial engineer.
At least 159 infrastructure projects, programs and activities were implemented in the province’s four districts last year, it added.
Of the P268 million, P110 million was used for the construction and rehabilitation of 51 multipurpose buildings and covered courts, P79 million for concreting and rehabilitation of 72 farm-to-market and barangay roads and P28 million for evacuation centers.
In the same year, the provincial government constructed a two-story building for a state university in Sta. Catalina, Lubao worth P20 million and repaired other primary and secondary schools.
The regional anti-crime office at Camp Olivas was renovated, along with two police stations, for P3.21 million.
The provincial government spent P2 million for the repair and rehabilitation of Arayat and Mabalacat district hospitals and P1.62 million for capitol offices. – Ric Sapnu

DSWD’s new strategy in youth counseling
BAGUIO CITY – The Dept. of Social Welfare and Development – Cordillera Administrative Region is conducting “youth development session” once a month to explain to the youth the changes in themselves that they will encounter and their roles in the society as youth. DSWD officials said their previous way in counseling was not effective so they came up with “peer counseling”. DSWD trains some youth to council other teenagers. Since they are in the same age group, the teenagers who need counseling will be more comfortable in opening up and have interactions with these trained teen counselors.
DSWD-CAR is also conducting “family development session” once a month which helps couples have better understanding on family planning, responsible parenthood and gender sensitivity. -- LJ Reyes

Food products regulated in Baguio public schools
BAGUIO CITY -- councilor Elaine Sembrano proposed an ordinance entitled “Regulating the supply, scale and distribution of snack food and other food products in school premises in the city of Baguio.”
The ordinance is related to the resolution 57 series of 2014 entitled, “Requesting the Department of Education- Cordillera Administrative Region to reiterate to the schools regarding the sale of soft drinks in public schools and private educational institutions in reference to DEPED order no.8 series of 2007.
The ordinance explains that sale of junk food and other food products in schools that affect the health of school children must be prohibited.
As stated in the ordinance, the office of the city health services office in coordination with the Department of Health shall come up with a certified list of food, considered as junk and health hazard for guidance of the public schools administrators, personnel, students, pupils and the members of the monitoring board. All food items in the said list shall be banned in all public school premises.
Also, bringing of items identified in the list of banned food and food products as certified by the DOH or the office of the city health services officer is allowed. Volunteer or personnel designated pursuant to the ordinance shall confiscate any banned food item brought inside the premises of the school and deposit it in a basket provided for the purpose and labeled as “poison” or “junk” and the concerned individual and claim it only when he/she leaves the school.

Ifugao town shares good practices in ALS program
KIANGAN, Ifugao -- Networking among stakeholders and municipal government’s investment of resources  in  implementation of Alternative Learning System (ALS) program were among the best practices of the local government of Kiangan.
Municipal Social Welfare and Development Officer Mario Indopia representing Mayor JoselitoGuyguyon shared the town’s best practices in 2016 under the ALS program at Schools Division Office here. The event was conducted to appreciate  LGUs actively engaged in developing learners under the ALS programs.
Indopia said the LGU showed its commitment by allotting financial support to the ALS from its Special Education Fund and its 20% development fund.  It also helped in advocacy of ALS programs and projects, provided data of out-of-school-children, out-of-school-youth and out-of-school-adults which assisted the ALS implementers in their mapping and appropriate intervention.
The LGU also participated in the strategic planning and maintained strong and effective networking with ALS implementers and other stakeholders.
Last year, there were 193 learners in the municipality who passed the Secondary Level ALS Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test, 95 were trained on livelihood skills with 25 engaged on soap making, 33 on corsage making and 37 on detergent making.
ALS program coordinator for IfugaoArsenioYongoyong cited Kiangan officias  for their cooperation..  -- Daniel B. Codamon

Marriage Week in the City of Baguio
BAGUIO CITY – Councilor Elmer Datuin introduced an ordinance entitled “Declaring Feb. 7 to 14 every year as Marriage Week in Baguio.
The proposed ordinance was posted on bulletin boards of city hall, Baguio City public market, Baguio city post office, Baguio city library and the Baguio City Health Services office.
As stated in the ordinance, statistics show there is decline in marriages registered every year in the Philippines yet an increase of annulment cases every year. Also, fewer people see the importance of marriage today and willingly resort to de facto relationships.
The resolution said there is  need to strengthen Filipino families by promoting and strengthening marriage bonds.
Marriage week aims to provide programs that will benefit the general public having in mind that a thriving marriage can lead to a productive family, hence a transformed society among others.
In the said event, mass weddings, marriage seminars and workshops, counseling and other activities may be held to further promote the significance of marriage.

4 Abra LGUs use SGLG incentive for infra projects
BANGUED, Abra -- More infrastructures are set to be built or improved in at least four towns in the province using the   Performance Challenge Fund.
Department of Interior and Local Government provincial director Millicent B. Cariño  said the P3 million  incentive as Seal of Good Local Governance awardees was released to four out of six  municipal government unit awardees in Abra last year. All four LGUs have programmed PCF for infrastructure projects.
San Juan Mayor Meynardo Arthur Bautista said they will use their PCF for  concreting of the unfinished portion of their municipal access road in Barangay Bayog to Supiil and Nangobongan to Abualan. 
 Mayor Robert Victor Seares, Jr., of Dolores said their P3 million will be used for  concreteing of canals in Poblacion. 
In Bucay, Mayor Bernadette Cardenas-Baroña   said they will construct a multi-purpose hall in South Poblacion.
For Peñarrubia, Mayor Jane Mamsaang-Cecilia said their PCF was programmed for   farm-to-market road and construction of spillway and stone masonry.
The Tayum and La Paz are yet  to receive their PCF, Carino said. -- Maria Teresa B. Beñas

Ibaloi Park as living museum
BAGUIO CITY- An ordinance introduced by councilor Edgar Avila entitled, “Declaring the Ibaloi Park as a living museum and installing the bust of Mateo Carino therein and for other purpose was approved by the city council last week on first reading.
As explained in the ordinance, there is a need for a living museum for the Ibaloi’s which would recreate historical settings to simulate past time period providing visitor with an experiential interpretation of history, a type of museum that would recreate to the fullest extent conditions of a culture, natural environment or historical period.”
The resolution stated  now is the time for the city of Baguio to pay homage to Mateo Carino, installing a bust in his honor at the Ibaloi Park within Burnham Park.
The ordinance was also referred to as the Mateo Carino Ordinance.  --  Fely L. Guanzo and Karen Copa

Teenage pregnancies high in Baguio: mayor
BAGUIO CITY – Teenage pregnancy in this city is high, Mayor Mauricio G. Domogan said, adding most are students from other nearby towns.
He said to prevent the rapid increase in teenage pregnancies, children should be taught correct values by their parents. “As far as the city is concerned, the Character City program has its “True love waits” component.”
He said that city officials are going around high schools where they speak to students on such matters including spiritual values. 
In Pasadang Pambarangay, the mayor said the issue of pregnancies are addressed, adding most young ladies who got pregnant early had troubled family background or due to outside factors such as friends and religious sectors. These factors should be looked into for it to be addressed earlier as not to lead into bigger problems such as teenage pregnancies, he said. – Fely L. Guanzo and Karen Copa

SSS Abra shares good news to its members
BANGUED, Abra -- The Social Security System (SSS) office here said initial  P1, 000 pension hike  for members would take effect this  January.
President Rodrigo Duterte approved  earlier this month an across-the-board pension increase of P2,000  to benefit more than two million SSS  pensioners  with the initial P1,000 effective this month and  another  P1,000 in 2022 or earlier.  Along with the President’s decision to increase pension was the instruction for SSS to incorporate reforms to ensure sustainability of the pension fund.    
 It’s possible to happen because they won’t promise it if they can’t, stressed SSS Provincial Manager Edward Urua following  reactions pension hike is highly improbable to materialize sooner because it may cut down SSS fund life in 10 years if not accompanied by higher contributions.
On calamity assistance loan, Urua said they are still waiting for go signal from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council before they can allow their members who are victims of typhoon Lawin to apply for a loan.  -- Ginalyn B. Brioso

Panagbenga integration into ASEAN pushed
BAGUIO CITY -- A Malacanang official   is promoting integration of internationally-accredited Baguio Flower Festival into the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) community.     
“We are partners for change, we only will not engage other regions of the Philippines - we will be one with ASEAN. We can engage the world,” Presidential Communications Office Assistant Secretary Ana Marie Banaag said during Baguio Flower Festival or Panagbenga opening program at the Athletic Bowl last week.
Banaag said the Panagbenga, now on its 22nd year, can be among the pride of the country to the ASEAN community for having reached international standards and being the only local festival accredited by the International Festival and Events Association. -- Carlito Dar

PCOO to strengthen govt, media presence nationwide
BAGUIO CITY -- Government media organizations    will be strengthened to bring the government closer to the people.
Officials of Presidential Communications Operations Office told Mayor Mauricio Domogan this development   during their courtesy call to him at the Baguio City Hall last week.
PCOO Assistant Secretary for Operations Marie Banaag said they are working with government media entities to upgrade equipment and services that will strengthen the presence of the government media nationwide.
“There is a need to strengthen and improve the facilities and enhance operations of the government media and the communications arm,” said Banaag.
The government media organization includes the Philippine Information Agency, Philippine News Agency-News and Information Bureau, People’s Television (PTV) and the Bureau of Broadcast (BBS) which carries the Radyo ng Bayan station.
PTV General Manager Dino Apolonio and BBS Director Rizal Giovanni Aportadera, Jr. said they are improving their facilities nationwide including that of the Radyo ng Bayan Baguio particularly its broadcast system. There is also  a  newly-built  PTV station  in  Baguio City which will cater not only  Cordillera but  rest of  Northern Luzon .
The PTV and Radyo ng Bayan management also offered their facilities and programs to the different government offices including the local government units for them to bring closer the services of the government to the people.
At present, Radyo ng Bayan Baguio is hosting the weekly Ugnayan Media Forum with Mayor Domogan which is aired live every Wednesday.
Aportadera urged government agencies to plug their various programs and services and to even have programs over RnB for wider dissemination.
Once the PTV –Baguio station   goes on air, there will be TV programs with government offices and local government units aside from the usual news reports and feature stories, Apolonio bared. 
Banaag added that the strengthening of the government media is also part of the advocacy of the PCO with the Philippines  chairing ASEAN this year.
The PCOO officials were in town   for the Baguio leg of the PCOO- ASEAN Roadshow as part of the information education communication campaign to engage the various sectors, increase awareness and appreciation and entice participation to ASEAN and other agency programs.
The PCOO as the communication arm of government is the lead committee on media affairs and communications in spreading awareness and educating the public on ASEAN and the country’s chairmanship of ASEAN 2017. -- Redjie Melvic Cawis

 Youth participation in Baguio disaster programs proposed
BAGUIO CITY – The City Council approved on first reading a proposed ordinance institutionalizing youth participation and representation in local disaster risk reduction and management in the city.
The ordinance authored by Councilor Leandro B. Yangot, Jr. stated there shall be a youth representative in the city and barangay disaster risk reduction and management councils and the National Youth Commission (NYC), in coordination with the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) City field office, shall formulate the guidelines for the selection of the youth representative.
Under the proposal, the qualifications of the youth representative to the said councils are: not necessarily college graduate but underwent training and have experience in disaster risk reduction and management or climate change actions, and is willing and capable of serving as a member of the councils;  a member of a community-based organization, preferably those that have disaster risk reduction engagements or have worked with the NYC; at least one year residency in the barangay to help ensure familiarity of the barangay he or she will serve. -- Dexter A. See

OCD-CAR honors 2016 Gawad Kalasag awardees, partners 
 BAGUIO CITY -- The Office of Civil Defense  recognized  exemplars and  partners in disaster risk reduction and management efforts and actions in Cordillera during the recent 2016 Gawad Kalasag awards here at Camp John Hay.
The regional awardees were   University of the Cordilleras – Best School DRRM; La Trinidad, Benguet  and Luna, Apayao – first and second  place respectively  in the Best Municipal DRRM 1st to 3rd class category; Municipality of Tublay, Benguet  for best Municipal DRRM – 4th to 6th class category; Baguio – Benguet Public Info and Civic Action Group as Best Volunteer Group; Tuba Fire Station as Best Government  Emergency Management  Service,  with  Baguio City EMS at second place. Baguio City is the best DRRM for the highly urbanized city category and Apayao as   the best Provincial DRRM   and Mountain Province at second place.
For the DRRM Commitment Awards (individual category), recognized were Benguet DRRM coordinator for Department of Education Nerissa Barbosa; Tublay MDRRMO Abner Lawangen; Licuan-Baay, Abra MDRRMO Erosbon Sabedo; Mountain Province PRRMO Edward Chumawar; La Trinidad MDRRMO Yoshio Labi and Police Regional Office Deputy Director for Operations, PSSupt. Angelito Casimiro.
OCD also gave recognition to 30 government agencies and organizations, private institutions and volunteer groups for their valuable contribution in the DRRM advocacy and efforts last year especially during the onslaught of super Typhoon Lawin.
Assistant Secretary Kristoffer James “Toby” Purisima, OCD deputy administrator for admin- operations cited  importance of awardees’ work and leadership.

Gawad Kalasag’ (KAlamidad at Sakuna LAbanan SAriling Galingang Kaligtasan) is an annual award that is given to individuals, non-government organizations, private sector and government organizations  in recognition of their initiative in helping the Filipino government uplift the standard of disaster management in the country. -- Carlito C. Dar


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